? Episode 300
 all tech radio show
  • Skype will bring PSTN voice calling to Facebook as part of a future enhancement of its video-calling service, Skype executives confirmed Wednesday. But whether Skype will require users to use Facebook Credits for its paid services is an open question, they said. Facebook announced an overhaul of its Google Groups feature on Wednesday, with its premier feature the addition of video chat. The new features will be rolling out to Facebook's over 750 million users slowly over the next few days. According to Philip Su, an engineer for Facebook who worked on the development team, users who frequently message one another will occasionally receive a prompt to try out the video calling feature. Su also said that the features for the next version of the Facebook-Skype integration haven't been defined yet. However, Scott Miller, director of global business development for Skype, told PCMag.com on Wednesday that the company plans to add PSTN calling to phones, a capability that Google integrated with Gmail at the end of last year.
  • Tablets and smart phones have officially crossed over into the medical field last week with the iHealth BP3. This is a blood pressure attachement for the iPhone or iPad that allows you to use the device for checking your blood pressure but it doesn't stop there. It will also collect the data and transmit it to your doctor's office with the push of a button. Expect more medical devices like this for both Android and Apple products.
  • The HP Web OS tablet debuted last week to some decent reviews. It isn't much different than an iPad or a Galaxy Tab. They are now all pretty comparable in size shape and quality. The one big that that will kill this OS, as it is also killing the Blackberry Playbook, are apps. Hardly any apps are avilable for Web OS, which is the old Palm OS bought by HP.
  • Fox News had their Twitter account hacked, and the hackers wasted no time in congratulating Joe Biden as our next president because President Obama had apparntly been assassinated. The Secret Service stepped in to calm the public that there had been no such attempt and the investigation begins. (They probably shouldn't have made their password "Fox News")
  • Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN), the world's largest online retailer, increased the amount of space available to users of its music-storage service and introduced an application that plays songs on Apple Inc. (AAPL)'s iPad. For $20 a year, customers of Cloud Drive now can get unlimited space for their downloaded music files, the Seattle- based company said today in a statement. Purchases made through Amazon's online store are stored for free. Amazon's new Cloud Player for the iPad is similar to software that the company offers for Google Inc. (GOOG)'s Android devices. The program lets users play back music that they've stored on the Web. The upgrade follows the unveiling of Cloud Player in March, when Amazon joined the ranks of music-streaming services.
  • VERIZON WIRELESS: The unlimited data plan that is going away costs $30 per month. For that, new smartphone customers will get 2 gigabytes of monthly data usage. They can also pay $50 for 5 gigabytes and $80 for 10 gigabytes. Customers should choose carefully. Those who use more will be charged an additional $10 per gigabyte. AT&T: Eliminated $30 unlimited data plan for new customers a year ago. Customers can now pay $15 for 200 megabytes of monthly data usage or $25 for 2 gigabytes. There's also a 4-gigabyte plan for $45; with it, laptops can access AT&T's cellular network through their phones using a technique known as tethering. With the cheapest plan, there's a $15 charge for every 200 megabytes over the limit. The charge is $10 per extra gigabyte with the other two plans. T-MOBILE: Offers four plans with high-speed data. Customers who go over their limits are still able to send and receive data without charge, but speeds will be lower. The limit is 200 megabytes for $10 a month, 2 gigabytes for $20, 5 gigabytes for $30 and 10 gigabytes for $60. SPRINT: Offers unlimited data use for $30 a month. Some higher-priced calling plans come with data at no extra charge.
  • Hackers have disclosed a bug in software from Apple Inc that security experts said could be exploited by criminals looking to gain remote control over iPhones, iPads and iPod Touch devices. The security flaw in Apple's iOS operating system came to light on Wednesday as the website www.jailbreakme.com released code that Apple customers can use to modify the iOS operating system through a process known as "jail breaking." Some Apple customers choose to jail break their devices so they can download and run applications that are not approved by Apple or use iPhone phones on networks of carriers that are not approved by Apple. Security experts warned that criminal hackers could download that code, reverse engineer it to identify a hole in iOS security and build a piece of malicious software within a few days. "If you are a malicious attacker, it is fairly doable," said Patrik Runald, a senior researcher with the Internet security firm Websense. Apple has yet to release an update to iOS that protects customers against malicious software that exploits the flaw.
  • The House Appropriations Committee proposed Wednesday to kill the James Webb Space Telescope, the crown jewel of NASA's astronomy plans for the next two decades. The telescope, named after a former administrator of NASA, is the successor to the Hubble Space Telescope, and it was designed to study the first stars and galaxies that emerged in the first hundred million years or so after the Big Bang. It was supposed to be launched in 2014, but NASA said last year that the project would require at least an additional $1.6 billion and several more years to finish, because of mismanagement.
  • Google updated its Maps for Android software Wednesday, bringing a new feature for those who take public transportation, as well as some additional functions for everyone. Stop-by-stop Transit Navigation directions are now available for more than 400 cities around the globe. Search is improved, users gain faster access to directions, and photos now appear with Places. But I noticed one unannounced new Labs feature that could help consumers manage their mobile broadband usage: map downloads for offline use. It's possible that the download area map function was part of the Labs experiment in a prior Maps version, but if so, I missed that news. And to be honest, it doesn't matter to me when it arrived; it only matters that it has arrived. Why? Here in the U.S., the second of the big two network operators is dropping unlimited smartphone data plans and moving to a tiered business model. AT&T did this in June of last year, while Verizon Wireless will be doing so tomorrow, July 7. Anyone on tiered data plans, especially heavy domestic travelers, can benefit from offline map downloads with the Labs feature.

email from listeners:

  • i have a question i have been on a contract with at&t for years and years now and i have had several smartphones and when i did every time i went online to the att site it showed where i had a data plan for it but since i got this jailbroke iphone (by the way i traded a smartphone i got from an att upgrade to my iphone) it shows there is no data package is it because its jailbroke or am i gonna get a surprise when i get my next bill. thank you so much for any information you can give me on this situation.
  • Sabrina
  • Recently Google Chrome installed itself on my computer without my authorization and made it my default browser. I don't know did this happened? Did a Chrome installation program attach itself to some software that I downloaded? I want to uninstall that software too.
  • Thank you, Robert in Seattle